Goreme PanoramaDuring our second trip to Istanbul, we booked a three-day Cappadocia and Ephesus tour through Daily Istanbul Tours, a company that has a ton of tour options out of Istanbul — ranging from day trips to a week. I knew we wanted to spend some time in Istanbul again, and that we wanted to see other places in Turkey. After some discussion with Kail and some Internet research, we settled on Cappadocia and Ephesus because it looked interesting and because it fit within our time frame (our total trip was only six days and we didn’t want to be on the move the whole time).Pigeon ValleyIt’s probably possible to spend more time planning a trip to Turkey and not rely on a tour guide, but since we booked our round-trip tickets from Amman to Istanbul (knowing it was U.S. Independence Day/Eid week) and didn’t think about our plans until later (see: grad school while working full time), a tour company was the best option for us. It included everything — domestic flights, lodging, breakfast and lunch, tour guides and transportation.We ended up having a few problems and complaints with a couple portions of the trip. I won’t go into the negative side here, but I will say I’m extremely satisfied with Daily Istanbul Tours. Tujan, the woman with whom I corresponded in booking my arrangements, was extremely accommodating and even refunded a portion of our trip.Turkey’s tourism industry is definitely struggling, and it’s a shame because there is so much to see and so many businesses reliant upon that sector of the economy. If you are planning a trip to Turkey, and are looking to book a tour — day trip, overnight or whatever — Daily Istanbul Tours is the way to go.Uchisar Castle, the highest point in the regionCappadocia is known for its “fairy chimneys” and caves. Some hotels are even located within the rock formations themselves — true “cave hotels.”The other big “must do” in Cappadocia is a hot air balloon ride. We opted not to do a hot air balloon ride because I am afraid of heights. I’m glad we didn’t book it though because the flights were canceled due to bad weather/wind — after everyone in the group had to get up at 5:00 a.m. and wait around for two hours before they made the final call. After a 1:00 a.m. wakeup to catch our flight to Istanbul from Amman (via Athens) and a 3:45 a.m. wakeup the next day to catch our domestic flight to Cappadocia, all I wanted to do was sleep.The photos look amazing, but I also was like … Flying around in a basket? You could die. And the next the next week I read about the deadly hot air balloon crash in Texas and I felt like we made the right choice. That, and even if wanted to, we couldn’t have done it.Kaymakli Underground City.Instead we did things like sleep in our cave hotel room and explore the little town of Goreme. You can read more details about all the stops during our two days in Cappadocia. I definitely felt like the two days were padded — particularly with stops at local businesses for carpets, pottery and leather, some of which were repeated in Ephesus — but that’s the price you pay for a booked group tour.Pottery in AvanosWe were all supposed to take a turn at the potter’s wheel but no one in my group did. I didn’t want to get my pants dirty! I also did not buy any pottery, to my surprise. (Kail convinced me to wait until we returned to Istanbul, so we could revisit our friend Turkan in the Grand Bazaar.)I did buy a carpet. OK, three carpets — not all in Cappadocia (one in Cappadocia, two from our friends Adnan & Hasan in the Grand Bazaar). One was a gift, too. Don’t judge me.I’m glad we visited Cappadocia. While you could easily spend several days in Istanbul alone, there’s so much else to see.Do you like organized tours, or do you prefer to go at your own pace and follow (first, plan) your own itinerary?